The Missouri S&T football team ventures back into the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association for a non-conference game Saturday.
And the Miners hope things work out a little better Saturday than the last time they played an MIAA foe.
S&T travels to St. Charles to take on the Lindenwood Lions Saturday night. Kickoff at Hunter Stadium is set for 6 p.m.
Coming off its first win of the season, S&T is 1-2 overall. Lindenwood lost for the first time last week, to league foe Central Missouri 47-28, to fall to 2-1 overall.
S&T is a former member of the MIAA, leaving after the 2004 campaign, which was before Lindenwood joined the league. Two weeks ago the Miners played at St. Joseph against No. 6 nationally-ranked Missouri Western – also of the MIAA – and were blown out 63-3.
The Miners then bounced back nicely last week, scoring 27 unanswered points to knock off Wisconsin-LaCrosse 27-14.
And although S&T head coach Tyler Fenwick doesn't expect the Lions to be Missouri Western-like, he knows Lindenwood, which finished 8-4 and played in the Mineral Water Bowl last season, is going to be another stern test.
In all, four of the first five games of the season for the Miners will come against opponents which played in the NCAA Division II 2012 postseason.
"It's the same story...another tough game," Fenwick said. "Lindenwood is from the MIAA, so they're used to tough opponents. Last year was their first year in MIAA conference play and they did well."
Lindenwood is now a full-fledged member of Division II after transitioning from the NAIA.
Last week against Central Missouri the Lions led 28-20 late in the first half before the Mules reeled off the final 27 points to win.
S&T has met Lindenwood just one other time, two seasons ago when the Miners rolled up a 19-0 lead and held on for a 19-13 win.
The Lions come into Saturday's game averaging 478.3 yards in total offense and have the ninth-best passing attack in Division II at 355 yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Dillon Miller has hit on 81-of-135 passes for 1,032 yards and six TDs.
Miller's top target has been sophomore wideout Jaron Alexander, who has 22 catches for 243 yards, while junior wideout Alex Robinson and sophomore wideout Jordan Gater each have 18 receptions, with Robinson scoring four times. Junior tailback Marvin Byrd leads the Lion ground game with 263 yards.
Defensively sophomore inside linebacker Connor Harris leads Lindenwood in tackles with 33 while senior cornerback Pierre Desir is considered All-America material.
"They're fast," Fenwick said of Lindenwood. "Their secondary is fast and they have receivers and running backs who can run. That's the big thing, we've got to be in the right spots and tackle well.
Page 2 of 2 - "Their defensive line is physical. They've got some really good talent. And the cornerback, Desir, is probably one of the best in the country."
A blocked punt and a three-yard interception return TD off a ball tipped by the intended receiver gave Wisconsin-LaCrosse a quick 14-0 first-quarter lead last week over S&T.
However, the Miner defense did not allow a sustained scoring drive and created turnovers of its own to help the offense kick into gear in the second half.
"Our defense played well the whole game," Fenwick said. "The blocked punt and then the interception that basically went off the tight end's hands resulted in touchdowns. Other than that the defense played well and in the second half the offense really came back.
"We just weren't on the same page with the receivers and quarterback. We had some miscommunication; we had some new stuff we just put in and that stuff got cleaned up at half."
Miner sophomore running back Zenel Hudson had 158 of his career-high 222 rushing yards after intermission last week. He now has rushed for 341 yards (4.1 per carry).
Sophomore quarterback Reed Brown has hit on 60-of-106 passes for 711 yards, five interceptions and three TDs. Junior wideout Melvin Stovall has caught 16 passes for 211 yards while junior wideout Nick Taylor has 13 grabs for 163 yards; junior wideout Leon Moody 10 receptions for 87 yards and junior wideout Josh Corbid nine for 113.
Senior middle linebacker Chris Emesih continues to lead the Miners in tackles with 27 total while junior outside linebacker Zach Melber has 21, senior cornerback Sean Martin 15 and senior safety Mark Hopkins 14.
Fenwick is hoping to have senior All-America defensive lineman Eddie Rascon and senior running back Anthony Moore back. Rascon has missed the last couple of games with a knee injury while Moore has been out for two weeks with a concussion.